I’ll come right out and say it – I love handkerchiefs. Reusable, old fashioned, cloth ones. I’ve seen those cold and flu prevention thingys that say you should use disposable tissues but I don’t care. My cloth handkerchiefs are here to stay*.
I love them for so many reasons. They’re reusable – I think this makes them environmentally friendly. I can embroider them –making them a great way to show off my new crafty skills. I love having a clean one in my purse for emergencies – nothing feels quite like offering someone a soft, clean, cloth hanky if they’re feeling a little sad**. Also they’re great for other emergency cleanings such as small spills or wiping rain and snow flakes off my glasses.
But here’s the reason I love them most – they’re better for my nose. After 6 days of being sick most people’s noses are red and raw and sore as well as being messy. But mine isn’t (ok, it’s still messy, but not red or chapped) I don’t care how much aloe and/or chemical crap they pump into paper tissues, they’ll never be as soft as a nice cloth one. We all know cloth hand towels are nicer in the bathroom then paper towels***. The same thing goes for cloth tissues. I switched years ago because I’d run out of tissues and was too sick to go to the store. I think the first cloth hanky I used was actually an old, soft bandana. My nose felt less raw and chapped within 12 hours and I never went back. Mind you fresh crisp cloth isn’t really great you need old cloth, or soft handkerchiefs like these. I like the ones I’ve seen at antique stores too.
So there it is: my cloth handkerchief evangelism. Lots of people think it sounds gross. But seriously, just get plenty so you can wash them in between. It’s worth it, they’re awesome!

*don’t worry, I wash them regularly, and don’t share them with anyone. Common sense people, it’s not as common as I’d like.
**bonus points for embroidery, or old fashioned printed or lace edged ones!
***DON’T get me started on those disposable paper towels for your home ads I’ve seen on TV recently (tag line: because this world needs more disposables in the landfill and less money in our pockets!)


8 responses to “Handkerchiefs

  1. I totally agree about that paper hand towel commercial. When I was growing up, everyone in the family had his/her own facecloth, hand towel and bath towel precisely to eliminate cross contamination. My dad always carried a hankie with him. I haven’t made the leap to hankies myself, but my mom got a box of them (antiques!) not too long ago…

    • See? Old fashioned common sense is so helpful! Modern sloppiness (maybe because we’re all so rushed?) is the cause of so many germ-spreading accidents.

  2. I use hankies most of the time, tissues when I’m sick as I find I prefer them then. Always have a tissue in my bag though; pity new ones are so inflexible. Most of mine were my Grandmothers but unfortunately they’re starting to show their age.

    • Hankies really need to be broken in well. Maybe if they’re stiff putting them through the washer a few times would help? I’d just toss them in with every load that goes through until I felt they were better.

  3. I’ve been thinking of making this switch since your previous post about embroidery. The link is very helpful – might just be the nudge I need to make it happen.

    Have you replaced other disposable things with reusable? We’ve had cloth napkins for years, but I think I’d like to find a paper towel analog too, if you have any suggestions.

    • We use cloth napkins as well. And we don’t buy paper towels, although I have several substitutes – depending on the job. For general kitchen cleanup: spilled sauce, wiping counters, etc… I just use cloth dish towels or those plain “flour sack” cloth towels. For scrubbing (the stove top, baked on food in dishes) I use knitted cotton dish cloths. If there’s anything really gross that I don’t want to touch OR re-use the cloth (dead mouse puke from my cats is, sadly, the main culprit here) I use strips of old t-shirts. Once a t-shirt is beyond use I cut it into rags and use them (and re-usable them) for cleaning the bathroom, windows, dusting, etc… I don’t feel bad throwing one of those away once in a while since the fabric has been used, re-used, and re-used again.

  4. Just got caught up on this months posts. I was raised on cloth hankies; multiple allergy sufferers in the same house meant no paper tissues. The paper fibers made everything worse.

    Another good cloth to use, if you can find it, is old cloth diapers. They’re super soft. (Not today’s “pre-fold” nonsense–No matter how many times they get washed they are still scratchy.)

    My mom also recently made me several hankies out of old soft T-shirts. She cut large squares and stitched the edges together to keep them from unraveling.

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